By JULIE CARLE
BG Independent News
The Black Swamp Arts Festival is renowned for its great music, awe-inspiring visual arts and festive atmosphere.
One of the real gems of the festival is the Kiwanis Youth Arts Village.
“It’s presented as art for young people, but all ages come to tap into their creative side and try their hand at being creative,” said Kelsey Mohrman, co-chair with Amber Speer of the festival’s youth arts sector.
The hat-making station is by far the most popular, Speer said.
“Hats are always a must. It’s a tradition. They come for the hats year after year after year,” she said. “One year we thought it would be so much fun to change colors, but it didn’t go as well as we hoped.”
They reverted to the color of the brown paper bag.
Returning this year, another popular station is tie dyeing. Demand isn’t as great as it is for hats, but there are always plenty of kids and parents willing to try their hand at fiber arts projects.
Because creativity is at the heart of the Youth Arts Village, Speer and Mohrman intend to offer play-based art. Much of the space, located at the northern end of the festival , near the Wood County District Public Library, will be landscaped with a variety of materials.
Leftover yarn from last year will be available to braid, put on a stem, add beads, or whatever a young mind can think up.
“We offer the materials; leftover wood from last year’s build station, pipe cleaners, flowers, glitter, paint, beads, pom poms, stickers, all kinds of doo-dads and lots of glue will be at at their fingertips to unleash their creativity,” Speer said.
“Honestly, we have ideas, but whatever they see and dream up is up to them,” Mohrman added.
This is the first year Speer and Mohrman have led the youth arts field. Speer, who is an elementary art teacher at Eastwood, assisted longtime president Matt Reger for many years. She and Mohrman have agreed to lead the effort this year to share their passion for the arts.
The Kiwanis Youth Arts Village is open Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Kids of all ages will be able to create something they can cherish and take home.
“I love kids and I love seeing how young, creative minds work. It’s such a feel-good thing,” Mohrman said.
Click for more information about the festival. Click here to volunteer with Youth Arts or other areas of the festival